A priests suggestions to correct our Catholic identity

At Catholic World Report, Fr. Peter Stravinskas reacts to ongoing scandal. He has some suggestions about how to address the identity problem we have in the Church – that’s what it is, isn’t it! – along the lines of Catholic Education, Clerical Leadership, and Faith and Conviction.

His section on Liturgy was of greatest interest to me, because I contend that everything… everything… all our problems and all our achievements… flow from and are brought back to how we collectively worship God in our sacred liturgical worship. What does Fr. S prescribe?

Eliminate altar girls, Communion-in-the-hand and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] All of these practices entered the mainstream in direct violation of liturgical law, were winked at by bishops, and then codified as normative, thus rewarding disobedience. In keeping with the recommendations of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict and Cardinal Robert Sarah, re-introduce celebrations of Holy Mass ad orientem, which would have a major effect on the atmosphere of worship and the mentality of the priest. Needless to say, a healthy dose of Latin and Gregorian chant is likewise in order.  [We need the TLM far and wide and often.]

The vast majority of priests under the age of forty would move in this direction tomorrow. [Yes!  They would.  But there is a big “however”…] However, they are inhibited from doing so by pastors still living in the 1960s and by chancery bureaucrats who are similarly enmired. Fidelity to the rubrics, truly sacred liturgical music, and a deep sense of the sacred are essential if we are to bring back those who have been scandalized by abuses over the long haul, abuses which have been deeply ingrained, institutionalized and normalized. That’s the “zero tolerance” that is needed. Not a few good bishops are supportive of these liturgical changes but are cowed by their own bureaucracy and/or by their fellow bishops.

We need positively to support our bishops and our priests who are putting themselves in the cross-hairs by trying to revitalize our sacred liturgical worship.  We must must must encourage and support them.

There are small things you can do to help your priests and bishops move in the right direction.  For example, THANK THEM for what they do.  Assure them of your prayers.  TELL THEM what your legitimate aspirations are.  Get organized to provide material support and dedicated time.   Send them Spiritual Bouquets!   The TMSM I am involved with recently organized a Spiritual Bouquet for the Extraordinary Ordinary.  We took out a color ad in the newspaper for the occasion of his 15th Anniversary as bishop here.

We need to get onside and stay onside.liturgical

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. colospgs says:

    From the article: “Not a few good bishops are supportive of these liturgical changes but are cowed by their own bureaucracy and/or by their fellow bishops.”

    Then might I humbly suggest that they are not “good bishops”. If they can be cowed by these kinds of , dare I say minor, pressures, then what won’t they be cowed by? There are bigger, hungrier wolves out there with their sights set on the Church than bureaucrats and liberal bishops. And their ire is motivated by more than liturgical issues.

  2. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    Sunday last, I was waiting for the EMHC monkey-pile/hand-sanitization/meet-and-greet/mutual-congratulations to end and for them to communicate before the rest of the Faithful, and I thought, “wasn’t communion standing and in the hand all supposed to make Communion go faster?” Now it takes longer than if we were to kneel at the rail. Never mind the more important question of why would you want to hurry through the most sublime moment of the Mass, when we the Bride receive our Heavenly Spouse. Communion in the hand while standing fails in by its own criterion of its utility.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    “Eliminate altar girls, Communion-in-the-hand and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion… re-introduce celebrations of Holy Mass ad orientem… a healthy dose of Latin and Gregorian chant is likewise in order…”

    Add to this the proper integration of the instituted ministries of acolyte and lector, and we would have the Mass of Blessed Paul VI the way it was meant to be! A true “reform of the reform” is possible! Don’t give up!

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    Amen. Thank you Fr. Stravinskas and Fr. Z, and to all the faithful bishops and priests fighting the good fight.

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    I thank with all my heart faithful priests like yourself who have to labor on the front lines. What you are saying would surely make a positive difference and is a worthy endeavor, God bless you for caring about the liturgy. Beautiful liturgy is what we owe God and also what is needed.
    If we do not see concrete action against this homosexual onslaught, and if something is not done to prevent homosexual predators from corrupting boys, it will not be possible to produce good fruit. We can no longer look the other way. Now we all know.

  6. Fuerza says:

    I would also add to the fine suggestions above the restoration of the traditional Offertory prayers from the Suscipe, Sancte Pater through the Veni Sanctifactor, preferably in Latin though the vernacular could work as well. On top of that, it’s not enough for Latin to merely be included in the liturgy, but both priests and the faithful should actually have a solid knowledge of the language. I firmly believe that every future priest should know Latin well enough to celebrate the Mass with understanding and correct pronunciation, and to read the Vulgate, the Summa and classical texts such as the Aeneid with equal facility. Such a level of skill could be obtained in as little as two years in the seminary, and most current priests are probably smart enough to work their way through a text such as Orberg’s Familia Romana on their own in less than a year of part-time study. The laity should also be taught the more common prayers, and the ability to recite or sing the Ordinary in Latin should be required during preparation for First Communion and Confirmation. Only when the language becomes a shared experience for every Catholic, in the way that Hebrew is for Jews, will a real cultural identity and attachment reappear.

  7. Traductora says:

    Bring back the 1965 Missal! It was basically a vernacular Tridentine Rite low mass with a few minor adjustments. Versus populum was not required in it and I’m not sure it was even mentioned – that was an invention imposed by some mysterious force somewhere in the Vatican, and most priests didn’t do it at first, although very soon all of them had to do it. (Why? At whose command?)

    I know everybody here is a great fan of Latin, and I am too, but if you want to reintroduce or rebuild the Old Mass, it’s got to be in the vernacular. Most priests now couldn’t get their Latin up to snuff in their entire lives and certainly not fast enough to hit the ground running. It should be an ideal and will be accomplished someday, but we don’t have time to wait. IIRC, the High Mass actually hadn’t been translated and was still expected to be done in Latin, so maybe Latinists can focus on that.

    People and priests loved the 1965 Missal because it was basically what we had all been reading in our Latin to English missals all those years and had all the beautiful psalms, sequences, etc. And then one morning it went away, and the priest apologized and we all walked out of the church in tears.

    But this has to be done soon, in my opinion.


  8. JTH says:

    My parish is fortunate that we have a solid priest, in his mid 30’s, who serves the NO mass ad orientem. The only parish in the diocese to do so. Father also says the EF mass on Sunday afternoons with the intention of moving the EF mass to noon. Again, the only parish in the diocese to have the EF mass.

    Interestingly enough, Father attires the girl altar servers in what looks like a nun’s habit without the veil. The boys wear traditional vestments.

  9. ServusChristi says:

    Well, speaking of the 60s, you ‘d think that in the 21st century these same liturgical progressives would be updating the Novus Ordo Missae to keep up with the times and maintain consistency right Father?

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  11. CradleCath says:

    I am truly puzzled that Father Peter Stravinskas is a priest in our diocese of Boise, Idaho and our liturgies are still stuck in the 70’s style Novus Ordo. I totally agree with what he has written but there is absolutely no evidence of this in our diocese. If you can drive 6 hours north of our cathedral, you can find a Tridentine Mass. One. In the entire state (diocese). Does our bishop know what Father Peter knows?? You would think…

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